I’ve Got Your Back

Today I am participating in the FAITH JAM.102_4787

The questions to ponder are….

Which character in the Christmas Story speaks most deeply with you?

How is God guiding you to take next steps on your journey to give birth to a dream?

I thought this post I wrote a couple of years ago, or was it just last year, answers today’s first question. I relate to Mary. A simple woman, a mother who loved her son. Who prayed that she was doing the right things. She who spent time pondering all these things. Who tried to understand. One who knew great joy and promise and still felt the pain of deep grief and sorrow.

As I continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord…as my grip on my own life loosens…my dreams have changed. I’m not sure what God has ahead for me. Maybe the path to my dream will be smooth and straight, but more likely it will be twisted and steep, rocky and scary at times. Even though I’m in my mid 40’s, I still have moments where I wonder what my dream is? What is it that would change me? Change my community? Change my world? With God no dream is too big, or too small.

The other day I was working in the kitchen when the words came to me, “I’ve got your back”. Just like that. Those words. Just as plain as if they had been whispered in my ear. Then this verse immediately came to my mind:

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8 ESV

Now, I don’t know about you….but, that gave me the chills. Seriously. Goosebumps.

God has my back, and He has yours too.

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I think I mentioned that I am playing Mary (mother of Jesus)tomorrow at church. I’ve been thinking of Mary a lot lately because of this part that I have in the Advent monologues. Having to memorize “Mary’s lines” helps me to remember what is truly important. Allow me to practice my lines with you…..

”How can I even begin to tell you what I saw inJesus? Even before he was born my life was filled with wonder and amazement…..I was visited by an angel. Such power and authority! And yet there was such gentleness as he shared with me the expression of God’s love.

And then there was Joseph. He was incredible throughout all these events. Of course, he had questions and concerns but, he always responded to me with such love. I know that his own visit from an angel had a lot to do with that.

There are so many things that I remember…and I hold those  moments close to my heart. Because to be honest with you, most of Jesus’ life didn’t make sense to me…..until it was finished.

Jesus, he always thought of others before himself….I remember when we went to a wedding feast. Jesus changed the water into wine because he didn’t want the wedding host to be humiliated. Then there was the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to her with such love, I can’t even describe it! He even lovedPeter, a man who had denied knowing him, multiple times! And yet, love and forgiveness were his.

Then there was the cross…..the cross. Even on the cross Jesus was so full of love, and thinking of others. He didn’t want me to worry about how I’d be taken care of, so he said, ‘ John, take care of my mother.’ And to me he said, ‘ Mother, treat John as if he is your son.’

As he hung on the cross, with his life slipping away, he still had such love— and was putting others before himself. I heard him say, ‘ Father, forgive them!’……………….. and to the thief on the cross next to him he said, ‘ Today I will see you in paradise.’

And then it made sense. I understood. Love. God’s love. Jesus was a demonstration of God‘s love to this world. He was born, and he lived, and he died, and he rose again as an expression of God’s love to me! And as an expression of God’s love to each of you! God’s love…..that is what Jesus is all about. “

This certainly puts Christmas in perspective. Doesn’t it?

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“You’ve Kissed The Face Of God”

I love the song, Mary Did You Know by Mark Lowry. 102_3847

I’m always left with a sense of awe after the words……

And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God.

Being a mother of a son, I often ponder those particular words.

I remember after having my son, how mesmerized I was by his sweet little face. I stared at him for hours, amazed at the gift I had been blessed with. As mothers (and fathers) don’t we all feel that way?

How must Mary have felt?

I’m sure she was amazed at the birth of her child and stared at His sweet face for hours. When her lips lightly brushed His forehead,  or the tip of His little baby nose, she could not have possibly fully understood the implications of this birth, this life….she knew, but not really….it would have been too overwhelming for the heart of a young girl.

God came that night. He came for a world that was in desperate need of Him.

Pure. Innocent. Sinless and Perfect. A Holy Gift, straight from Heaven.

The One that would save us all.

This same world that Christ came to save,  attempts to remove Him from Christmas. Yet, it is impossible, because without Christ there is no Christmas.

The great Emmanuel, God with us.

 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 NIV

He Is Risen!

Celebrating the resurrection of my Lord and Savior.

Death could not keep Him, and the tomb could not hold Him. He is alive!

It is because of His resurrection that I have hope for today. For tomorrow. For always.

Luke 24:1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at that which had happened.

 

Silent Night

Often times it is in the silent, the quiet of reflection that I realize the most profound. It is when the noise stops, the TV is off, the games are muted…that I can ponder.

Mary pondered.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19  NIV

Mary, the chosen one.

She said “yes” to God….her part in His perfect plan.

In the quiet I am sure she was scared…and nervous about what others would think.

She did not feel worthy of the responsibility. The privilege.

But still, she said yes. Yes, to the One who knew her future.

Jesus, humble child. Born into a world of darkness all those many nights ago.

Jesus. The One, whom the angels sang about and that the shepherds were in awe of.

The King nestled in a feeding trough

and Mary leaned over and kissed the face of God.

This Christmas, like Mary, I want to quiet myself.

Prepare a place for Jesus.

I want to say “yes” to Him, again.

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How are you preparing your heart this Christmas?

A Perfect Plan

Reenacting the Stations of the Cross in Jerusa...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m portraying Mary (mother of Jesus) in an Easter monologue, this weekend.

Mary had the heart of a mother, when she admitted that she did not understand the purpose of Jesus‘ death. She knew He was the son of God, and yet she watched Him be hung on a cross to die. To die. Her heart bled out, along with her son’s. She knew He was God, but He was also her son…whom she loved. “Why, God? Why? It doesn’t make sense to me!”

Today, on the way home from a short trip into town, I was practicing my lines. Her words, so much she did not understand, echo back to my own heart. So much, I do not understand. I have the blessing of knowing that death was not the end for Jesus. I am able to celebrate the resurrection that followed. At the time, right after the crucifixion, Mary did not know…..yet.

Yet.

Isn’t that like so many of us? God does something in our lives…and we question Him. We shake our fists. We cry out. It’s not fair! Why me? I don’t understand. What is the purpose?

God in His infinite wisdom knows. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him. He is never caught off guard.

If God was small enough for me to understand Him (a woman who doesn’t understand her own computer), He wouldn’t be much of a God now, would He?  I cannot put God in a box.  Sometimes He does things that seem like they don’t make sense…at least not to my human, finite mind. I feel very much like Mary, standing in the dark on that day, wondering why? I am grateful that God does not require my permission to complete His plan.

(Jesus) “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39  NIV

So, this Easter I will celebrate God’s plan. A holy plan. A perfect plan. A plan that took His Son to the cross, to pay the price…for me. That’s how much He loves you…and me. Redeemed by the blood of the lamb. The pure and blameless sacrifice…

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Mary On My Mind

The Virgin Mary, baby Jesus, and angels in heaven.

Image via Wikipedia

Mary Did You Know?

I think I mentioned that I am playing Mary (mother of Jesus) tomorrow at church. I’ve been thinking of Mary a lot lately because of this part that I have in the Advent monologues. Having to memorize “Mary’s lines” helps me to remember what is truly important. Allow me to practice my lines with you…..

” How can I even begin to tell you what I saw in Jesus? Even before he was born my life was filled with wonder and amazement!…..I was visited by an angel. Such power and authority! And yet there was such gentleness as he shared with me the expression of God’s love.

And then there was Joseph. He was incredible throughout all these events. Of course, he had questions and concerns but, he always responded to me with such love. I know that his own visit from an angel had a lot to do with that.

There are so many things that I remember…and I hold those  moments close to my heart. Because to be honest with you, most of Jesus’ life didn’t make sense to me…..until it was finished.

Jesus, he always thought of others before himself….I remember when we went to a wedding feast. Jesus changed the water into wine because he didn’t want the wedding host to be humiliated. Then there was the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to her with such love, I can’t even describe it! He even loved Peter, a man who had denied knowing him, multiple times! And yet, love and forgiveness were his.

Then there was the cross…..the cross. Even on the cross Jesus was so full of love, and thinking of others. He didn’t want me to worry about how I’d be taken care of, so he said, ‘ John, take care of my mother.’ And to me he said, ‘ Mother, treat John as if he is your son.’

As he hung on the cross, with his life slipping away, he still had such love— and was putting others before himself. I heard him say, ‘ Father, forgive them!’……………….. and to the thief on the cross next to him he said, ‘ Today I will see you in paradise.’

And then it made sense. I understood. Love. God’s love. Jesus was a demonstration of God‘s love to this world. He was born, and he lived, and he died, and he rose again as an expression of God’s love to me! And as an expression of God’s love to each of you! God’s love…..that is what Jesus is all about. ”

This certainly puts Christmas in perspective. Doesn’t it?